tv Newsmakers CSPAN July 19, 2015 6:00pm-7:01pm EDT
interview starts at 7:20 p.m. also here on c-span. >> this week on "newsmakers" u.s. labor secretary thomas perez. then homeland security secretary jeh johnson at a house hearing thank you for being here. we also have melanie trottman, labor reporter with the "wall street journal," and lydia depillis of the "washington post." lydia will go first. lydia: a lot of the news is on the minimum wage and there is a strong push for $15 to be the base. in places that are not coastal cities like new york or los angeles, do you think is appropriate for them or do they do themselves damage by the going to that level?
sec. perez: i applaud the effort state and local levels are trying to raise minimum wage. no one should have to live in poverty while they are working. that is the reality because of the failure of the republican leadership to work on the minimum wage. the president has been very clear in his support of the $12 an hour proposal. i was strongly supportive of that. i'll believe is that there should be a federal floor, and state and local levels should be able to go above that to reflect the fact that it costs more to live in seattle and los angeles than in another part of the united states. but regardless of where you live, you should have a floor that enables you not to have to live in poverty. at $7.25 an hour, we have folks working 40-50 hours a week and going to the food pantry. that is not consistent with our values. lydia: one thing kansas city did was accept people under 17
worried that including them might impede employment opportunities for young people. does that make sense or is that unequal treatment? sec. perez: the federal minimum wage has a tiered structure to it for younger people. and then over time, you need to raise that person's wage up to whatever the minimum wage would be. so there is president -- precedent for that. i have not reviewed the kansas city provision to figure out where that is, but again, state and local governments have been the leaders. 7 million people got a raise january of 2015 as a result of state and local efforts in red and blue states alike. ballot initiatives in arkansas alaska, south dakota, nebraska. people across the country recognize that people need a raise and you cannot live on $7.25 an hour. melanie: i want to stay on that
topic of wages, but there seems to be mixed signals out of the labor department on whether we are seeing real wage growth or not. there are people who believe the 4% annual wage growth we had can never reach that point again. that there will be a new normal lower than that. are we seeing real signs of wage growth? what do you expect going forward? will less than 4% annually be the new normal? sec. perez: it is hard to predict what the level will be. but what i think we do know is that one of the big pieces of unfinished is in this recovery -- and we have seen now 64 consecutive months of private sector job growth, making sure we lift wages is a big part of it. too many people have not had a meaningful raise in years.
decades ago, when we saw productivity increase, that meant wage increases. they went hand-in-hand. in recent decades with the exception of the late 1990's, the productivity that workers provided, they are not getting the benefits of that. that is way past. that is why the president is working on a management gas on a minimum wage proposal. and people who work overtime ought to be paid extra. one of the best ways to lift your wages is to lift your skills. we are not satisfied with the level of wage growth. we have an all of the above strategy to address it. melanie: you mentioned pay protections for the recent overtime proposal. to get millions more eligible for overtime coverage. you raised the minimum wage for federal contract workers to
$10.10 an hour. you have added pay protections for home health workers. what other regulatory changes might we expect to see in the last year and a half of president obama's term from the labor department? sec. perez: we always ask what we can do to help working people. what can we do to reward hard work with a fair wage. that is why we did what you described, melanie, with the $10.10 executive order for federal contractors. that is why we are in the process of implementing a requirement that if you are trying to do business with the federal government, you cannot discriminate, cannot violate wage and hour laws. if you are chronic violator, you do that at your peril. that is why we have the overtime rule. that is why we have a robust enforcement program. we are working hard. we have recovered more than $1 billion on behalf of workers.
that is why we are talking about misclassification. there are a lot of folks who are employees but have been called an independent contractor so an employer can pay them less, not pay them worker's comp., and frankly cheat the government. because the tax collector at a state and federal level does not get the money. we are doing everything in our power to make sure we stand up for workers. host: but as melanie asked, what other areas are you looking at? sec. perez: we are continuing to advocate for increases in the minimum wage. the $12 minimum wage proposal is something we care a lot about. i hear from people, in this environment, you cannot get anything done. i worked in the u.s. senate in 1996 for senator kennedy. that was a presidential election year. you had a republican congress and a democratic president. and in a presidential election
year, immigration reform passed. welfare reform passed. health reform bill passed. a minimum wage increase passed. you can get things done if you have the will to do it. the $12 minimum wage proposal is common sense. as we have seen from ballot initiatives in red and blue states alike, the people demand this. we will continue to work on these issues of wage fairness. we will work to help people create a better balance between work and family. we meet people all the time who have to stay home from work to take care of their kids and they do not have paid leave. we are the only industrialized nation on the planet that does not have some form of federal paid leave. that's wrong. that is why the president is aggressive in working on that. that is why i have been going around the country trying to
lead on leave. state and local governments are. but the congress is behind regrettably. lydia: back on that thing about misclassification. there is a new set of businesses in the digital economy that have folks doing different things for their employers that are not of the company. they are people. do you think that if those workers are classified as independent contractors and they do not look like your typical employee, do you think these kinds of workers, it is a matter of whether they are classified correctly or is it that changes
in the economy have brought about that? that there is a new type of worker that should be accommodated through legislation or regulation? >> you're talking an uber driver, maybe someone selling something on etsy and has two or three of those jobs. sec. perez: there has been a lot of conversation about this recently, and i understand it. what troubles me at the outset is it reflects a false choice. you either have innovation or regulation. that is a false choice. i see innovators across the economy. in the new economy, the long-standing economy, who understand that when you take care of your workers, it is good for your workers, for your bottom line, and for your customers. this notion that we have to have either an independent contractor driving you or else we cannot create a business model is simply incorrect. i talked to employers all the time who recognize their most precious asset is their employee. their workers. when you treat them fairly, you
end up having a much more loyal workforce. when i hear people talk about the need to make sure that if someone is an employee, they are treated as an employee, that is right. and you can do so and innovate at the same time. that is what the president feels. i know that is what secretary clinton feels and how others feel. we have seen that in our work. we talked to innovators all the time in the silicon valley and elsewhere who understand that i can create a new business model and still take care of my workers. lydia: and it is not being impeded by new regulation? sec. perez: i do not believe so. there are innovators out there who understand that is the right thing to do. i hear people who say innovation has to occur at the absence of regulation. i think we are about to celebrate the americans with disabilities act's 25th anniversary.
does that mean that if you are driving uber that you cannot serve a disabled person because you are not a company? no. i think we can accommodate all of this. this discussion about what the evolving economy looks like and address it, it is important to reject these false choices and recognize we can take care of workers and create remarkable space for the innovation that has existed for hundreds of years. melanie: your wage and hour division issued guidance for employers to help them determine how to distinguish between employees and an independent contractor. some of the people in the business communities said they were concerned that the agency were showing a bias towards workers being classified as employees and that it was going to make their members and
employers around the country hesitant to hire independent contractors. there is a statistic -- a lot of hiring happening among contract workers -- is among contract workers. the temporary service space accounts for more than 10% of all hiring in this expansion. or about 1.2 million workers hired. are you in any way concerned that more aggressive enforcement in this area could undermine hiring? sec. perez: what is interesting is the employers i have spoken to over the past two years about this issue said thank you. because the most frequent entity that brings concerns in this and misclassification to our attention are employers. if you're operating a package company and you call your workers employees because they work exclusively for you, wear your uniform, and you are competing for a contract say
with the federal government. and your competitor takes their workers that they totally control and call them an independent contractor and they can lowball you on the bid, that is an unfair playing field. we hear that all the time from employers. that is why we have them around memoranda of understanding and are working with states like utah, alabama, texas. the problem of misclassification of employees is a huge problem. we recently had a case where construction workers showed up on friday and they were an employee and then on monday there were told you are an llc . we were able to resolve that and call them what they were, which was employees. this is a very big problem. this guidance that you correctly referred to -- there is no new policy in theirthere, but what
employers want was greater clarity and that is what we provided. melanie: do you think the trade group leaders do not accurately reflect what employers feel about it? sec. perez: i remember going to texas six months ago and talking to a home builder, who was a self described conservative republican, who said i need your help on misclassification. 'i am bidding to build developments and the competition is lowballing me all the time because they are employing folks that they are calling independent contractors when in fact they are their workers.' they should be employees. what i found interesting but not surprising about this issue is that there is -- the concerns i hear come from people across
the ideological spectrum. what they understand -- it is not a republican or democratic issue. cheating is cheating. one may take someone who works exclusively under them and call them an independent contractor -- in maryland, we did not call that misclassification. we called it what i think it was, which is workplace fraud. you are cheating the worker. you are creating an unlevel playing field for other businesses who play by the rules. and you are cheating the tax collector. that is not right. that follows out wages. hollows out wages. we have a lot of talk about wage inequality in this country. it is appropriate. one of your questions was about wage inequality. one way to make sure people get paid the fair wages they deserve is to enforce laws on the books and make sure we call people who act like employees, quack like employees call them employees and treat them as such. lydia: you worked closely with unions in your work.
they are supportive and you guys coordinate on a lot of things. something brewing for the future has been reform of the national labor relations act and it has not changed in the 80 years. they would like to see it changed for how the economy has changed. you think that given how , difficult it is to unionize today, that legal structures are adequate to help unions do what they need to do to help workers organize themselves? sec. perez: there has been a frontal assault on collective bargaining. the supreme court just accepted a case in that area. these are teachers and firefighters. police officers. people doing such important work. let's make no mistake about it. there is an effort to hollow out
wages by undermining their ability to collectively bargain. that is unfortunate. when we collectively bargain, we help people get fair wages and help communities build and help school teachers focus on teaching and not getting a second job. you know, when i look around the country -- i traveled to germany recently and spent a day at volkswagen. they are the seventh largest company in the world. they are a great company. they wanted to establish a works council in the u.s. they have a footprint -- a manufacturing footprint in over 20 countries across the world. the only country they do not have a works council is in the u.s. they are developing one or have developed one in china. that they have not done that here. they were willing. the model that made volkswagen great is codetermination. they want to work together. they believe their employees are their biggest asset.
the challenge that we had in chattanooga was that out-of-state folks came in and mounted an aggressive campaign and defeated the union. that is the union organizing efforts. that is unfortunate. works council models, i believe businesses succeed when workers have a meaningful voice. that is why i am a strong supporter of collective bargaining. we need to build space in this country so that works councils which employers like volkswagen wanted, can come in. it is inconsistent for me to hear some people argue that need to let businesses do what they do best and get out of their way. and then when they come into chattanooga and say 'i want soon to establish a works council with my workers,' suddenly the same people who said we should not go out to there businesses
after businesses and let them control what we to do, suddenly they are mounting a campaign. >> is it more political than regulatory or legal at this point? sec. perez: there is an assault on collective bargaining. i do not believe i am giving away state secrets in saying that. going state-by-state trying to pit neighbor against neighbor, state against state, making arguments like 'that teacher who worked 30 years has a pension and you do not, so the remedy is let's hollow out that teacher's pension' as opposed to the remedy of 'let's build an economy that works for everyone so you can get a job that will enable you to have a decent wage.' that is the reality of the world that we are dealing with. movements like the fast food fight for $15, like the home health workers. 2 million strong who as a result
, of some regulation that we put in place, will hopefully have access to minimum wage and overtime protections. i think that as a nation, we should do our level best to allow workers to have a voice. collective bargaining. works councils. other ways they give workers a meaningful voice, because when workers succeed, businesses succeed. when they succeed together, we all succeed. we are stronger together as a nation. regrettably, there is a movement that says the only way to grow the economy is through low-wage, no benefit jobs. i categorically reject that. that is not how it has to be. >> i want to turn to politics and the economy. the 2016 presidential election is already underway. there has been a lot of talk about income inequality and the economy in general. from what you have heard so far from the candidate, which most closely shares president obama's vision for the economy?
sec. perez: i will not get into the campaign. i am working for president obama. but i will tell you, i find it ironic that there is bipartisan talk about the need to address income inequality. i am heartened by that. but when you get to solutions, let's raise the minimum wage to $12 -- 'no, we cannot do that.' let's raise the overtime thresholds so that people who work for get paid for it. 70 hours 'no, we cannot do that.' let's address misclassification -- 'no, we cannot do that.' you know i judge people by their , action. i am heartened by the fact that democrats have stood up and understood that income inequality is one of the defining issues and we should be
doing this, that, and the other thing about it. minimum wage, overtime, things of that nature. i applaud those efforts. i love working with this president because he wakes up every day asking how can he lift up the standard of living for everyday americans? that is why i am proud to work for this president. that is why i think the democratic party is standing up in very meaningful ways. >> if a democrat wins in 2016, you have been in this position for coming up on two years would you stick around? sec. perez: i will leave that to other folks. i have about 530 days until the weekend. i have a sign on my desk. it is a reminder that january 20, 2017 will soon approach. i wake up every day with a hop in my step, because i meet people who need our help. they want a level playing field.
they are not asking for a hand up, a hand out. they just want a level playing field. whether i asked whether it is the guy working 70 hours and making $20,000 and cannot feed his family, or the woman who is struggling because she has childcare and she has no paid leave. the progress we have made as a nation is inspiring, but the unfinished business is motivating. >> i would like to squeeze in one more question if we could -- >> you mentioned you are on a tour trying to get states to act on posing legislation since congress has not. is that turning out to be a more bipartisan issue or do you think it has affected the workforce participation rates? is it hurting the extent to which people are joining the workforce? sec. perez: one of the criticisms i hear from republicans is you have not done enough to increase labor
participation. the best way you can do that is to pass paid leave laws. look in canada. in 2000, female labor force participation, 25-54-year-old women was identical to the u.s. , you look now and it is like 7.5 percentage points higher. if we kept pace with canada, we would have 5.5 million more women in the workplace now. we would have 5.5 million more women going to the silicon valley, some of them to help create the gender diversity that is sorely lacking there. or wall street as well. we would have that much more money in the social security trust fund and the medicare trust fund. that is why the president has been leading on leave. recently in montgomery county, we are seeing tremendous success, most recently in montgomery county, maryland, my home county, were the council passed and signed a very good paid leave law. we are taking a page out of the minimum wage playbook.
we will continue to advocate on capitol hill and not wait for republicans to act. we are going elsewhere. i leave you with this thought on paid leave. only in the u.s. is this issue a partisan issue. i have been to australia germany, the u.k., canada. you look at who rules in those countries, it is mostly center-right governments in those countries. i ask every time i go, i asked business communities and leaders, if you had a chance would you pull back or repeal your paid leave laws. i get a one or two word answer. the one word answer is 'no' and the two word answer, because we are on tv, is 'really no.' the reason is because it is part of their global competitiveness. it's not a correlation, it is a causal link between what they have done and how they have been able to increase women and families in the workplace.
paid leave is it simply a woman's issue. it is a family issue. that is why i am so passionate about it. i met a school bus driver in connecticut, who gave birth to her daughter and she could not afford to stay home. and she brought her infant newborn on the bus with her while she was driving. a school bus full of half-sick kids with the sniffles is no place for a newborn. i want my bus driver focused on driving the bus. this is what the nation has come to. we can do so much better than that. we have learned from the global experience that you can do this and still have a thriving business community. i reject these false choices of we can either have a good business climate or have paid leave. every other nation in the world has figured it out.
we lead on so much, but we do not lead on leave. we will spend the next 530 some odd days trying to lead on leave. host: labor secretary tom perez, thank you. we are out of time. sec. perez: my pleasure to be with you. >> back with our reporters here, lydia, you asked the secretary about minimum wage. you started this conversation on that. there is frustration in congress to raise the federal minimum wage. what are the prospects for it getting through the republican controlled senate and house? lydia: it is hard to see it moving and president obama's term. but these things take a while. the momentum takes a lot of build. right now, the main action is in states and localities. what i heard from the secretary is he is supportive of the fight for $15 movement that wants the minimum wage to be $15 an hour.
but it is unclear from the economic evidence if that would be well-suited for every place. he did not say it was a bad idea and ask or why state, but he says $12 is where we want to be nationally. host: melanie, where does it go from here? as a something that gets kicked down the can to the next administration? melanie: i think that is more likely than not. we will continue to see activity in the states, see labor unions and the groups they back leading a lot of those efforts. i think they will continue to be aggressive about it. i do not think they will let up. the administration is expressing general support in those efforts and on the state level, it sounds like paid leave is where it is at. it is not something the federal government is focused on. i have heard mostly democrats. i have heard some republicans, but clearly secretary perez says the best thing we can do to
increase labor force participation is to pass a federal paid leave law. lydia: there has been surprising support for it. and a budget vote, there were 60 votes for some piece of it that was paid leave. who knows, maybe it gets through faster than we expect. host: but what is happening on the state level? lydia: philadelphia did it. it is more counties and cities. i think oregon county just did it. in pretty liberal places. but until there is a federal law, it will not reach the red states that are not interested. host: independent contractors. the uber drivers. those type of people out there. folks who have two to three jobs sewn together by doing different things.
is the government moving on this, lydia? does that part of the economy feel like the government needs to address their needs? lydia: i think that part of the economy once the government to go away. they are not. actually, the misclassification initiative that is crackdown in traditional areas. where we think of it most is in this digital economy space. what i was surprised to see is that secretary perez does not say we need to adapt our regulations to this new evolving part of the economy. he says regulations that exist are fine and you can innovate around them and you should use employees as employees, if that is what they are. melanie: i was a bit surprised too. some of the criticism from business community on this issue is that the labor department is locked in the 1930's industrial economy and they are not accepting that there is a
modernized work place that operates differently. he did not budge at all on that. decades old laws do have to be applied and enforced, but the economy is also changing. i am not sure how he is trying to strike a balance, or if he thinks in their needs to be a balance to be struck. he made clear that the law is the law and it can continue to work. the enforcement will continue at the rate it is and that companies will thrive and innovate. host: we will have to leave it there for now but thank you for being part of "newsmakers." >> tonight, on q&a. molly crabapple on her use of drawing to tell investigative stories from around the world. >> gang affiliation might mean
reading a book by a black panther or having a tattoo, but pelican bay is not alone in this. you can land in solitary for your art, belief, gender status sexual orientation. >> i draw not to show the finished drawing, but to build rapport with people. when you have a big camera, you have a big thing right in front of your face. it's a must been. . almost vampiric. most people are delighted to be john. i draw people because i like to. >> on c-span's q&a, tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern and pacific.
>> c-span's road to the white house coverage continues now with a profile interview of senator lindsey graham. he was elected to the a senate in 2002 after four terms in the u.s. house and has a long military career, serving in the air force, the national guard and air force reserves. this is 40 minutes. >> republican senator lindsey graham with more than a dozen candidates seeking the gop nomination. not enough, apparently. what sets you apart? sen. graham: nobody has been doing what i've been doing for the last decade. i've been trying to understand what this war on terror is all about. i have learned from my mistakes, and i think i know how to degrade and destroy radical islam, reset world order.
i am ready to go on day one. i understand leading from the front is essential, and american national security, when it comes to radical islam, you can never have peace with these guys, but you can have security. where i've find the will to fight radical islam in the region, i will help provide a capacity. if we don't, they are coming here. >> how do we earn their respect. ? sec. perez: to makesen. graham: to have the capacity when you speak. never draw a red line when you mean it. i would come up with a game plan . i would go to turkey, jordan,
saudi arabia, egypt, the entire region and say we are going to form an army, go in together to syria, goingg to pull up the caliphate by its roots. we will push bashar al-assad out and hold the ground. you will be the bulk of the army, but we will give you capacity that you don't have. stop funding terrorism. change her own behavior. let women drive. >> what is the biggest threat we face? sen. graham: radical islam with a weapon of mass destruction. >> how likely is that the happen? sen. graham: if we do a bad deal with iran, very likely. the stronger they are over there , the more property they hold, the more territory they hold the more people they recruit the more likely they will develop a weapon of mass
destruction. the biggest threat of all is the ayatollah with a nuke in iran. we can't let that happened. >> don't government leaders military leaders -- what is their impression of the united states. sen. graham: the afghan people understand we are not there is the british or as alexander the great. we don't want anything other than a good relationship and a frontline to protect our homeland. the afghans welcome our presence. if we don't leave 10,000 troops behind in 2017 when we withdraw, then we are making mistake like we did in iraq. iraq was in a good spot in 2011. it has completely come undone. the sunnis do not trust us. they think that we cut and run.
the kurds respect us, but they are disappointed we are not giving them on arms. everything going through baghdad gets locked down. the iranians are the biggest influence inside a rock. as president, i would change that. >> the president said we can't stay there forever. -- the iranians of the biggest influence in iraq. as president, i would change that. our military leaders said a residual force of 10,000 will hold this place together. we had one of 40,000 at one time. instead of listening to sound military advice -- we had 140,000 at one time. instead of listening to sound advice -- iraq would still be together today. three years ago, we had a no-fly zone to protect them.
when he use the chemical weapons, i supported a military attack on the the regime. the failure to not leave troops in iraq and help syria has led to the rise of isis. bush made mistakes. taking the iraq he army down was a mistake. we are about to repeat the same mistake in afghanistan by leaving too soon. >> what is your path to the nomination? how do you get there? >> sen. graham: convince enough people i'm ready to be commander in chief. try to find a team that will caucus for me and finish in the top tier in new hampshire. john mccain won new hampshire twice. they will be independence. i think i have a good message too many terrorists, too much
debt, not enough jobs. if i do well in new hampshire, i will kill in south carolina. >> you to our best friwo are best friends. how did that happen? sen. graham: i earn his respect. we have traveled the world together. we have been more right than wrong. i admire him greatly. i helped him in 2000. the impeachment trial of bill clinton, a nod way to meet. -- an odd way to meet. when he says i want to be president of the united states it's more than friendship. one of the highlights of my life is to have john mccain think of me in those terms. >> when did you meet him?
sen. graham: i had always known of him as a legendary war hero. it was in the late 1990's. he asked if i would supporting. i said i would be glad to. that relationship started in the late 1990's. i was one of his campaign cochairman in south carolina. i've been his friend ever since. i love the guy. i admire him a lot. >> what advice has he given to you? sen. graham: he has encouraged me above all others to run. he thinks i have the skill set to be a good commander-in-chief. i go to iowa and new hampshire spend a lot of time doing town halls, don't be deterred by early polling, get to it. a lot of his friends and new hampshire will help me. stick with it. just get on the ground. the bottom line is there is a tension in the system. it is between -- and retail
politics. this desire to use admission criteria based on national polling is a huge mistake. all these people are making a huge mistake. i think all of us should have a voice early on. if you file or have credibility give everybody a chance. over time, the process will weed you out. when you make it based on national polling, that undercuts the idea of going to iowa, new hampshire, and south carolina. it makes you change your strategy. it makes you think of national poll numbers rather than early primary state for dissipation. if it were not for iowa, new hampshire, and south carolina there would be no john mccain's potentially lindsey graham's. it would be about money. there is an effort to undercut the early primary process.
i will not accept that without a fight. >> wide you think fox news had a criteria, the top 10 -- white you think fox news had a criteria, the top 10. >>? sen. graham: it's about television. the day you determine eligibility to get in a debate e based on national polling, you changed the process. you destroy the ability of a retail politician, a somewhat well-funded campaign to take off based on retail politics. the new hampshire, south carolina, iowa voter that requires you to come to small gatherings to answer her questions, they are replaced by national pollster. this is a very bad idea. i don't care about what problem they have with their television. i care about democracy.
we are about to lose the something that has stood the test of time, retail politics where you can make it a difference based on who you are and what you believe. >> you appear on fox news often. do you think the network has undue influence? sen. graham: the fact that 75% of voters watch fox makes sense to me. i don't like the idea of excluding people. you change the early primary process. at the end of the day, fox news is the primary source of news for most primary voters. my concern is that if you say you can only be in a debate based on national poll numbers you are taking away from the early primary process, which is an anecdote to big money. the only thing left in the system that is an anecdote to big money is iowa, new hampshire, and south carolina. >> you announced in central south carolina. the backdrop was the sanitary café. where did the name come from?
sen. graham: it sounds good. who wouldn't want to eat there. good marketing. my dad. >> what did that feel like for you? sen. graham: overwhelming. neither one of my parents finished high school. i am the first to go to college. the have my sister do this -- it was all i could do to speak. we owned a liquor store, restaurant, and pool room. we lived in the back until we bought a house. we lived in one room, but i was incredibly well loved. when i was 21, my mom was diagnosed with with hutchinson's disease a disease. she died. we moved in with an aunt and uncle. if it wasn't for social security
survivor benefits to my sister, we would have had a hard time paying the bills. my aunt and uncle helped me to raise my sister. when i was thinking about appearing in front of the store i was speaking about growing up on the streets of that town and my parents. oh, my god if there is an example of the american dream, that is it. >> you prayed for her that you got word that she had passed away. sen. graham: i was with her. >> what happened? sen. graham: she was diagnosed in the late stages of hodgkin's disease. she fought really hard, but towards the end her body was running out, not hurt.. there were a few spirit. i just remember being with her
and saying mom, it's ok. saying that allowed her to let go. the hardest thing i have ever done was to tell my dad that she had just passed. he had been in the hospital. all of us have stories. that is just mind. there are people who have suffered far more than i have. i will remember that for the rest of my life, how hard she fought to see her kids grow up. two parents who don't see their kids grow up, i know it's tough. >> did she talk to you at all? sen. graham: she was fairly lucid the last couple of days. she was worried about my sister being young and making sure i would take care of her. my dad was 17 years older. he had had a heart attack. he was in his late 60's.
we always thought she would be around. she was 52. we thought that would go first because he is 17 years older but life is not what you think. it is about what happens. she was worried. i was able to reassure her that we would make it, and she reassured me that she would be fine. it was still tough. >> in your book, you talk about heaven, that she told you about it. sen. graham: there was a time when i wasn't there. my aunt had a seizure and they brought her back. she was talking about an experience, something like heaven, that she felt more at peace. i remember i was at home with my dad. he had been in the hospital and had just gotten home. i was home with him and my sister. i got a call from another uncle
saying that he didn't think she was going to make it. i talked in the book about driving to the hospital. the car was on empty. the empty light was on and it was a 25 mile ride. i was praying, please, let me get there. i made it in time to talk to her. she had a seizure and came back. i just said, mom, it's ok. you can let go. she passed. as i was going home, i pulled into the gas station. people who go through this remember it. >> your dad was called the dude.? sen. graham: there was a baseball player called dude. his name was florence james graham. he owned a bar, restaurant liquor store, pool room.
he was late 40's when i was born. i can't remember going anywhere without my dad hunting, car races, every ballgame i ever had. i came along later in life. my parents appreciated it more. >> it was reported that your parents did not serve african-americans at the bar? sen. graham: i grew up in a small town. we had a restaurant, bar served hamburgers and beer. we serve more beer than hamburgers and hotdogs. african-americans would get the beer to go. that's the way it was. i remember asking my dad as a kid -- i love my mom and dad. they are not perfect people. he said, that is the way it was. i can remember times when loudmouths would act up and say nasty things. i remember one time -- we called him uncle jake.
he was a giant african american, wonderful man. we went rabbit hunting with them. he was ordering beer and a guy was saying nasty things. i remember it like it was yesterday. my dad took my football helmet and knocked the heck out of the guy. at the end of the day, things change in the south, and in the restaurant and bar. from the time i grew up to now, my state has changed a lot. the first time i ever went to school with an african-american child was in the sixth or seventh grade, and there was just a handful. i did not think that much about it other than it was a big deal. everybody made it a big deal. i can only imagine what their parents must've thought to send their kids for the first time to an integrated school setting where there are 35 kids in a classroom. south carolina has come a long way. we have a long way to go.
i have seen things change in my lifetime for the better. >> are you surprised how quickly the debate changed over the confederate flag? sen. graham: to understand the situation, you have to understand how it got to be a confederate war memorial. it was flown in 1961 the 100th anniversary, to commemorate the anniversary of the civil war. nobody took it down. it became a divisive symbol during the civil rights era. by the late 1990's, a compromise was reached where we would take the flag off the top of the down and put it back into the war memorial in front of the capital and build an african-american museum display on statehouse grounds. that stood for 15 years, then there was the shooting. before the shooting, this was brought up in the governor's race. nobody did anything to change
the compromise because the state went through a hard time to get a compromise. the shooter adopted the flag as his symbol. the family members of the victims embraced him, and that made it impossible for south carolina not to change. we could've done one of two things, people go to the streets with justification or we could have gone down the road of healing and reconciliation. the family members of the victims, when they embraced the shooter in court and said you have destroyed my family and i am praying for you and love you that changed everything. it was impossible not to grant the request of the ame church and other people throughout our state to remove the flag. removing the flag was an active reconciliation, the heroes of this debate where the family members of the victims, the
politicians follow the people here. >> more questions about you and the bar. did you work there? sen. graham: i ran the pool room. you had a liquor store on one side and a bar on the other. we lived in the back. we had a kitchen where we cooked. we had one big room in the back until i was in high school. i would sit on the stool and listen to the jukebox -- nowadays, they would've taken my sister and me away from my mom and dad. it was a great experience. it was a bar. there were regular customers. an incredible experience. >> you are very close to your sister, correct? sen. graham: her turning out so well is the highlight of my life. she was 13 and lost both of her parents. she has two daughters. she has made an incredible life
for herself. when she introduced me, it was all i could do to speak. >> if you are elected, you will be the first since james buchanan to be a bachelor. sen. graham: she would be a support network for me. what ever i asked her to do, she would do. if she took a roll-on, she would be a great representative of our country. i cannot think of a better person to represent our country than my sister. at the end of the day, i think america can handle this. i want to be able to say that everybody can grow up to be president, even if you're single. we will see. >> you made a name for yourself during thee impeachment trial of bill clinton. was that the right thing to do? sen. graham: his reaction required us to do what we did, the sexual misbehavior and
misconduct there, who is to judge? but when he tried to stop the legal process, you can have the most powerful person in the world intimidating witnesses manipulative evidence in an essential harassment lawsuit. every sexual harassment lawsuit is about sex. when he was sued, because he act ined inappropriately and interjected himself into that lawsuit, tampering with testimony, hide evidence, then i think he needed be held accountable. him and monica lewinsky was a secondary event. it was about the legal process. i voted against the one article of impeachment where he lied about his sexual relationship because i know a lot of people
when caught off guard would do the same. to me, that is not a high crime or misdemeanor. but manipulating the legal system is. >> were you satisfied with the final outcome? sen. graham: i was ok. we made our best case. the manipulation of the testimony, the evidence, the lawsuit justify the action, but accepted the results of the senate. i was ready to move on. i have. >> any long-term impact on our country? sen. graham: the only thing i can say for sure is that even the most powerful person in the world can be held accountable for monkeying with the trial. he lost his bar license. i thought it was an appropriate thing. in that regard, i hope everybody understands that because your president of the united states you still have to play the game like the rest of us when you get sued, and you have unique responsibility because you are the chief law enforcement
official appointing the attorney general. >> you wanted to see the ouster of speaker newt gingrich? sen. graham: i liked him. but he lost his way. toward the end, we got to be a rudderless ship. newt gingrich was a visionary. without him, we would never have the republican majority. there are people who can take you up to the promise land. he is a moses in a way. he is a bit erratic. it got to be frustrating. i believed in what we were doing when the clinton promised to put the budget on the table, balance it. he broke his word. the government shutdown. i was thought, wait a minute, i'm not telling you how to balance the budget. we will run the government, keep it open, you put your budget on the table. he backed out of the deal.
we caved in there. i was one of 13 people saying that is not the right thing. over time, more episodes like that. he is an incredible man, one of the smartest people i have ever met, but in terms of running the house over time, it was a bit difficult for him. >> you graduated from the university of south carolina. when did you enter politics and why? sen. graham: when i got out of the air force. i graduated, went to law school got an education. the air force was accommodating to me. i was in rotc student, got a commission, my dad came out and died shortly after that. i came back and ran for the state house in 1992 after serving six and a half years on that committee. i had always talked about it.
family and friends gave me a backbone to do it. i remember when i first ran for the house, no one in my family had been in politics, so this was a big deal. i jumped in in 1992. good family, good friends, taking the around, knocking on doors. in 1994, the democratic congressman who had held the district for 20 something years the third congressional district , retired. i like politics. i knew that in south carolina that these things come open every 40 years, so i jumped in. >> why the air force? sen. graham: i wanted to be a pilot. my hearing was bad. i stayed in the air force. i almost got out twice. it didn't work out. i probably would've killed myself. i wound up being a lawyer. >> then you ran for the house of representatives? sen. graham: i was all for the
-- the one thing i won't do is lose the enthusiasm of the 1994 lindsey graham. the older im, the more i respect -- the older im, the more i respect newt. trying to find a way to accommodate big change in a much more practical way. realizing the other side exists. >> how do you compromise and then hold to your core convictions? sen. graham: anybody who is married or goes to church understands this. when you have a big problem like social security about to fall apart, you are running out of money, alan greenspan says you have to do the following to save it